Love Better

People Share Their Favourite Memories With Their Exes

Sometimes it's nice to remind ourselves that it wasn't all bad.
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Break-ups leave us with months, and even years, of memories. When it’s raw, we do our best to avoid them, but there comes a time when facing your own history helps you move forward. And being able to see the good in your past relationships teaches us forgiveness, grace and maturity. 

Even the worst relationships can have moments of bliss – moments that we might want to forget – but ultimately they’re part of our story. A lot of people lean into the idea that we have to channel animosity towards our exes because we don’t know how else to deal with the fact that it’s over. But newsflash: you don’t have to hate your ex.


When a relationship ends well, it can still be hard to look back on it all. Sometimes worse, because you feel envious of your past self. 

No matter what the deal is, processing a break-up is complicated. There can be hurt, regret, jealousy, confusion and anger. 

Like most important moves, getting to the point where you can reflect on your past relationships takes mahi. It’s not always easy and it can take a long time. But it’s a huge step in the direction of healing and peace to be able to look back on the good times – and even better, be grateful for them. 

VICE NZ spoke to 4 people who shared their favourite memories with an ex and reflected on what it means to them now. 


“I had one relationship with someone a bit older than me that was really unhappy. Even though the relationship overall was quite damaging to my self esteem I do have a few nice memories with him. 

One of the nicest things we did together was go on a trip to a really isolated beach house, just the two of us. It was the middle of summer and we cooked and swam and played cards. I don’t remember if we talked a lot, because we never really did, but I do remember feeling very peaceful and happy. 

I’ve found it hard to look back on our relationship at all, but that weekend is a nice reminder that even with someone you end up feeling completely at odds with you can still acknowledge that they sometimes made you happy, too. It also reminds me that I’m not a complete idiot for staying in that relationship, because occasionally there were glimmers of hope. Overall they weren’t enough, and I’m glad I left, but I’m also less angry about ‘wasting’ my time with him because some of that time was pretty good.”



“So my ex-girlfriend, who I was with about 3 years ago, was overseas on a holiday. I was really missing her and she had told me she was going to be back on a particular day. I was pretty much counting down the days because I was excited to see her again.

The day before she was supposed to be home I was chilling at my house with a bunch of mates playing Fortnight, and I heard something hit the window. I looked outside and I couldn't see anyone but then my door opened and she walked in with flowers and stuff. I was so surprised. It felt so nice to have someone go out of their way to surprise me and make me happy. 

The relationship sadly ended badly, but we managed to patch things up again. I’m glad that we don’t hate each other because I have lots of fond memories of that relationship.” 


“So I was in a long distance relationship after uni, she was in the south island and I was in the north island. I was kind of just hanging on because it was ending and we both knew it, but we didn’t say it. 

She visited for one last weekend. I was gonna break-up with her that weekend but we were having such a good time together and it was just like how it used to be before we were long distance and before our life directions changed. We stayed in a hotel together and it was amazing. She didn’t know I was gonna end it and I actually didn’t because I realised during that weekend that I did still love her. 


We broke up about three months later but it was worth having a bit longer together. I don’t hate any of my exes, even the one who cheated on me. You invest so much into someone, spend years with them and they’re your best friends, so why would you throw that good feeling away.” 


“This sounds a bit sad but, honestly, when me and my ex first met is one of my best memories with him. It was my first relationship, I’d been on dates with people before, but I’d never had a thing thing with someone. 

I just remember, that period of time, I met him at a party and after that we hung out for the rest of the weekend and then we’d message basically all day, every day. I liked someone and they liked me and it felt all grown up and sexy and new to me. We shouldn’t have carried on dating, but I don’t want to hate on the fact that I was so excited to be with someone for the first time.

In retrospect I was very naive and it wasn’t really a healthy place to start a relationship, but I just remember how excited I was at the time. You have to have a first relationship and it isn’t always gonna be amazing and that’s okay, I think.” 

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Rachel Barker is a writer / producer at VICE NZ in Aotearoa. You can find her @rachellydiab on IG and Letterboxd and see her film criticism on Youtube.